Saturday, April 2, 2011

Malabar, Crows Nest

Last night, Cheesecake Boy and I celebrated our fourth anniversary.  Judging from our past choices of Jugemu & Shimbashi in Neutral Bay, Ericyes in Surry Hills and a picnic at Lane Cove National Park, we never really go to any particularly special places for our anniversary, as we like to choose firm favourites.  This year was no different, as we chose my favourite Indian restaurant Malabar in Crows Nest to celebrate.

Thankfully, Cheesecake Boy made a booking, as we saw a couple enter the restaurant before us being turned down, as they hadn't booked a table.  I have even been turned away on weekday nights without a booking at times, as this place is a favourite with the locals.  The only other nuisance, is the lack of parking around this side of Pacific Highway in Crows Nest.  We were lucky and found parking last night in under five minutes, and that was a record for us.

Now, the restaurant was very dim last night and I am very technologically challenged and impatient, so the photos are worse than usual, and doesn't do the food justice.   Also, I was very hungry and just wanted to tuck in.

Shop front

I will admit that the pappadums were quite pricy, as you have to pay for the mint sauce separately. However, I find these pappadums very morish.  At some other places, after eating a few pappadums there is an aftertaste that makes them quite unpleasant, but not here.  The mint sauce, had just the right creamy consistency, and the balance of the mint and yoghurt was just right for me.

Pappadums, four pieces for $3 and mint sauce, $3

Malabar's specialty is their dosai, which their menu explains is a crisp and thin pancake made from rice and lentils.  We always go for the mini masala dosai that is filled with spiced potatoes.  The regular sized dosai is huge, at least three times the size of the mini, and for entree that would be too much  food for the two of us.  I always choose to have the dosai for starters, in my opinion this is one of the best dosai around.

Mini masala dosai with lentil broth and coconut chutney, $9.50

There is just the right amount of spiced potato inside the wonderfully crisp pancake.  The condiments of the slightly spicy lentil broth and the refreshing coconut chutney, worked wonderfully well with the spiced potatoes and thin pancake.

Cross section of our masala dosai

The butter chicken here is my favourite of all time.  I  always judge an Indian restaurant on how much I love their butter chicken.  If you like your butter chicken on the creamy but sweet side, then this is the butter chicken for you.  However, if you like your butter chicken, less creamy and thick and not as sweet than you may prefer the chicken makhni at Abhi's in North Strathfield.  However, back to Malabar, I always have an initial gripe on how small the main servings are, but actually they are the perfect size as the rice and naan eventually catch up with you as you eat.  This was definitely the favourite dish of the night, for both of us.

Butter chicken, $19

Now, Cheesecake Boy ordered the lamb korma and I was surprised as we have never ordered it here before.  I have stayed away from korma's for a while, since one place I visited added too many cardamom seeds in their version of chicken korma, and I ended up eating bits of cardamom seeds throughout my meal.  However, the lamb korma was lovely and had a creamy texture like the butter chicken.  The lamb was so tender and succulent.  The flavour although nice and mild, there was a certain depth missing from this curry, but really only the slightest imperfection.

Lamb korma, $19

No Indian meal is complete for us without garlic naan.  I love the naan here as I think it has the right amount of crunch on the bottom and fluffiness on the top.  However, Cheesecake Boy begs to differ and thought that the naan was not soft and fluffy enough for him.  However, the garlic factor was  not quite there in the naan.  Even though you could see it, the garlic punch did not come through.

Garlic naan, two servings for $8

We walk out blissfully happy after the good feed, and look forward now to also having two weeks leave for more anniversary adventures.  The food at Malabar was wonderful and the service is always friendly but efficient.  They also have a restaurant in Darlinghurst along Victoria Road, but we have never visited that one.  If you like Indian food, then you really should give Malabar a chance, it truly is a contender against a lot of the Indian restaurants out there.

Happy eating, Dumpling Girl.

334 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest  NSW  2065
Ph: (02) 9906 7343

Malabar on Urbanspoon


joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

I love butter chicken! I'll have to make a trip out to Crows Nest now! Thanks. :-)

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Joey, we would have happily settled on 2 butter chicken mains last night :)

Mel said...

I've been to the Malabar in Crows Nest and Darlo, but not for years. I think I'm overdue for a Dosai fix.

I always think the serving sizes at Indian restaurants are tiny, but my eyes are bigger than my tummy as we always have more than enough to eat.

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi MissPiggy, I completely agree with the servings, when I started eating I thought I needed another main but 2 was just right :)

Charmaine said...

One of our fav Indian restaurant. If you love goat, you should try their goat curry next time, it's tender and off-the bone.

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Charmaine, thanks for letting me know, I am always up for something different as there was a goat curry special that night, but I was having butter chicken cravings. Next time, I'll give the goat a go :)